Friday, July 30, 2010

Astonished--Matt 13: 54-58

Our society yearns to worship heroes.  We look to celebrities for wisdom and knowledge and understanding not because they are the rare possessors of such virtues, but because they have achieved a level of notoriety.  If someone filled with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding but was not well known, how much credence would we give them?  They may have a certain level of credibility in some circles, but, for the most part, they would go mainly unnoticed.

Jesus encountered this in today's Gospel reading.  He comes back home for a visit and as was His custom, went to the synagogue to worship with the people who watched Him grow from childhood to manhood.  By this time, Jesus' reputation had grown and He was becoming well known.  People came to listen to Him from all over.  But here, in His home town, the people who knew Him most intimately for most of His life, questioned how He could do the things He did and preached with the authority He displayed.

Jesus was a simple man.  He came from a simple background.  Day-to-day life was a struggle as He grew toward manhood.  He and Joseph worked hard to eek out a living for the family.  As he matured, there was very little about Him that was remarkable.  He was a simple carpenter who lived a quiet, undisturbed life.  So how was it, that now, well into His adult years, He could pronounce new truths and teachings with the eloquence He now possessed.  But it was not His mere eloquence.  It was the power of His words and the message which He proclaimed.  Someone with that simple of a background certainly could not be the bearer of such wisdom!

How many prophets do we have in our midst?  How many great teachers do we bump elbows with in malls, grocery stores, and even church?  Yet, we do not recognize them, nor do we give them a seconds worth of thought because "they aren't educated," or "they aren't famous."  They aren't theologians, individuals who have dedicated years of their lives to studying and seeking God in formal educational institutions.  So why would anyone listen to them?

We need to be more attuned to those around us.  Wisdom abounds in our midst yet we are mostly unaware of it.  Think if we would treat the words and teachings of Jesus as just so many words and pay Him little heed because He had not achieved some high level of education or celebrity!  Yet, do we not do that when we turn a deaf ear on those prophets in our midst? 

We can never be sure where the wisdom of God and the love of Jesus united through the Holy Spirit will come to us next.  Perhaps that neighbor we see every morning as we leave for work is a true prophet.  Yet, have we ever had a meaningful conversation with them?  Our co-workers may be spirits filled with the zeal for God and harbor gems of wisdom and understanding in their souls and all we can talk about is the weekend and the results of last night's ballgame!

Pray to the Spirit to guide you to listen more carefully to the voices around you.  God speaks to us in many ways and He is not above using some of the least likely individuals in our lives to spread His love for us.  These people are gifts from God to us.   May we learn to look upon each other as such!